Long after his inevitable retirement, Roger Federer will be remembered as one of the greatest tennis players the world has ever seen. Gracing the court with his gentlemanly demeanor and appearance, the stiff facade would burst into what could only be described as a fearsome opponent that few could match, and even fewer could defeat.
Boasting a career spanning two decades (that’s not counting his junior years), Roger Federer stands as one of the all-time greatest tennis talents, next to his contemporaries Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Let’s take a look at the training regimen that made Roger Federer the King of tennis.
Warm up like a legend
First things first, every great workout, whether you’re training tennis-specific movements or doing supplementary work, starts with proper warm up. The key to Roger Federer’s training routine lies in his tactical approach – his warm-up routine is not so taxing that his main training session suffers, nor is it too light so that he fails to perform at his best.
You should follow his approach by programming your own warm-up routine for maximum effectiveness in training, so start by doing basic neck circles and work your way down all the way to your ankles. Next, it’s time for some dynamic warm-ups consisting of jogging steps and butt kicks, after which you can up the tempo by shuffling from side to side as fast as you can. After that, sprint to the net and back.
Start with upper body movements
A successful tennis player will, of course, use his entire body to land a perfect shot, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t focus on specific body parts in training in order to improve certain areas. Think of it like a bodybuilding training session where you would grow your triceps in order to get a bigger bench press – does that make sense?
Now, Roger emphasizes upper body mobility work through stretching and explosive movements. Leave the stretching for after your workout, and focus first on explosive medicine ball tosses. These can be done in three ways: throwing the ball to a partner, slamming it into the ground, and tossing it up and behind you. Do all versions.
Focus on building endurance outside the court
One of the major elements of Roger’s training routine has nothing to do with the court, but with the weight room and the exercise equipment he uses at home to maintain and build endurance. This is actually one of the key components of his longevity, as using quality exercise equipment has helped him keep his joints and muscle tissue healthy while constantly improving his cardiovascular endurance.
Keep in mind that endurance and explosive strength are not the same, and if you want to stay in the game long-term, you will have to be able to endure a lengthy match without losing your breath or your power output. So, make good use of off-court training and let cardio equipment help you take your endurance to the next level.
Don’t forget about lower body drills
Back on the court, Roger will move onto lower body drills consisting of numerous power exercises to test and improve his footwork. Any tennis player worth his salt understands the importance of footwork in landing the perfect shot, so focus on cone drills, ladder drills, and plyometric exercises. You can do these in a circuit, moving from one exercise to the other in order to boost explosiveness and whole-body coordination.
Build up your reaction time
Lastly, have you noticed just how unbelievably quick Roger’s reaction time is? The way he moves across the court with speed and agility makes it downright impossible to get a ball past his guard, and if you want to build a formidable defense yourself, you should focus on improving your reaction time. One of Roger’s favorite exercises for this is the tennis ball toss, in which your partner will bounce the ball towards you, and you have to catch it and bounce it back. The higher the speed, the tougher the challenge.
Roger Federer is a beloved tennis player, and a talent few of his contemporaries can match. With over twenty years in the game and still crushing records, his training routine is the one you should replicate, and incorporate into your own training if you want to take your game to the next level.